Res­cued horse dies in Al­berta

Horse was saved from sewage pit

Fort McMurray Today - - ALBERTA NEWS - — The Cana­dian Press

WASKATENAU, Alta. — An Al­berta horse that was res­cued from a sewage pit has died, but its owner says she’s thank­ful she was able to clean the an­i­mal off and be with him dur­ing his fi­nal mo­ments.

“I was so glad my horse did not die in that hole,” said Lynn Dany­luk, in an in­ter­view Sun­day from her home in Waskatenau, north of Ed­mon­ton. “I would al­ways have thought that some­body stole him or a cougar got him.”

The horse, a 17-year-old Mor­gan stud named Dig­ger, died early Sun­day morn­ing in Dany­luk’s yard where he had been re­cu­per­at­ing af­ter be­ing hoisted from the pit Fri­day.

Dany­luk said Dig­ger was usu­ally a ther­apy horse. She agreed to loan him and an­other horse, Choco­late Thun­der, to a fam­ily with an over­grown farm­yard with the idea they would munch on the grass. She said she thought ev­ery­thing was fine un­til she got a call Wed­nes­day that Dig­ger had es­caped from his pen and hadn’t been seen in three days.

For the next two days she drove around look­ing for Dig­ger. Dig­ger, whose reg­is­tered name was Sir Wil­liam Barr, wasn’t a horse that wan­dered, she said, and al­ways liked to be near his friend, Choco­late Thun­der.

Dany­luk said she kept re­turn­ing to the farm­yard to see if Dig­ger re­turned, and to re­as­sure Choco­late Thun­der.

“I pet Choco­late on the top of the head and I ba­si­cally said, ‘I don’t know buddy, we’re still try­ing to find him. He’s got to be some­where.’ All of a sud­den, a horse nick­ered, very coarse. And I knew it wasn’t Choco­late Thun­der be­cause I was stand­ing right at his head and he didn’t nicker. I thought, ‘Oh my god he’s got to be here some­where!’ ” she said.

Dany­luk ran in the di­rec­tion where she’d heard the horse cry­ing out and saw the hole, which she said was a sep­tic tank over­flow pit. She looked down and could see the top of Dig­ger’s head and his back. She called to him and he looked up, but the an­i­mal was so ex­hausted he could barely keep his mouth and nose out of the liq­uid.

She said the hole had been cov­ered with boards, but Dig­ger had fallen through and had likely been stand­ing, stuck in the muck, for five days.

Fire­fight­ers showed up, along with a vet, friends and a back­hoe. Then some­one ar­rived with equip­ment to safely lift a horse and Dig­ger was hoisted from the fes­ter­ing hole. The vet ad­min­is­tered an IV and peni­cillin, and when Dig­ger was able to stand again, he rode in a trailer along with Choco­late Thun­der to Dany­luk’s home. Dany­luk said the fol­low­ing day, Dig­ger ap­peared to re­turn to his old self.

Dig­ger ate and drank, but Dany­luk said when he lay down to sleep, his feet would start pad­dling and he’d crane his neck, like he was dream­ing he was still in the sewage.

Then Dany­luk said he got up like he was in a trance. He was try­ing to lean on ev­ery­thing and fell onto a pa­tio swing set.

Dany­luk said her hus­band took the swing apart from un­der­neath Dig­ger and the horse lay on the cush­ions. She called her vet, who told her to get Dig­ger some­where safe where he wouldn’t hurt him­self or any­one else.

Their trailer was large so they planned to lead him there as soon as Dig­ger got an­other burst of en­ergy. But it never came, and early Sun­day Dig­ger moved off the cush­ions and lay down one more time.

“We were pet­ting his neck at 2 a.m. He took two deep breaths and his body quiv­ered and he quit.”

“I had Dig­ger since he was three months old. He was a rare horse — he had golden eyes,” she said.“He was a very im­por­tant horse to us.”

LYNN DANY­LUK HAND­OUT/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

A horse named Dig­ger is seen stuck in a sewage pit in this un­dated hand­out photo. The horse that was res­cued from a sewage pit has died, but its owner says she’s thank­ful she was able to clean the an­i­mal off and be with him dur­ing his fi­nal mo­ments.

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